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Fans out in full force for "Potter': Final movie a big draw locally, nationally

July 15, 2011

By: Dave Manley
The Journal-Standard
 Section: Entertainment
Edition: Web Edition

If the long line snaking around the Lindo Theatre in Freeport on Thursday night was any indication, "Harry Potter" should have a good weekend. 

The final installment of the "Harry Potter" saga reached theaters at midnight on Thursday, and many insiders believe that the film will break opening weekend records - $158.4 million set by "The Dark Knight" in 2008. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" already had earned an estimated $45 million before the movie opened Thursday night thanks to midnight showings and IMAX ticket pre-sales.

In Freeport, the Lindo was preparing for a big turnout for the midnight showing. Originally, the Lindo had four theaters dedicated to the opening (two each in 3D and 2D), but around 9 p.m. on Thursday they had already opened a third 3D theater and planned to open a third 2D theater if needed - nearly 700 seats in total.

"It's tough to predict, but as we sell more tickets, we will open up more theaters," Jami Spelman, Lindo general manager, said.

First in Line

Samantha Sloan and her brother, Tyler, of Freeport got in line for the midnight premiere of the new Harry Potter movie at 9 a.m.

Yes, 15 hours before the show.

Sloan said being the first in line for a big movie - specifically "Harry Potter" - was something for her bucket list. The 17-year-old said she grew up with the books, and, like many, has a special attachment to the series.

A Tradition

Samantha O'Haver of Rock City and Tegan Schelton shared Sloan's sentiment. The two were 10-years-old when the first movie came out (2001), and it has become a tradition to come out early for the midnight showings.

"It was like we grew up with them," Schelton said. "The characters are like good friends."

The pair said that over the years they have learned what to bring for the long wait in line. They sat in lawn chairs and had a cooler nearby.

"Really, we just brought enough stuff to keep us occupied," O'Haver said.

Further down the line, three women - also in lawn chairs - watched movies on a portable DVD player.

Andi Green and friends Stacy Lobdell and Amy Jo, all of Freeport, left the kids at home. Jo said it was because her kids are "a little too young for the series."

Green said she has read each book of the series "at least 20 times", and she can't even count how many times she has seen the movies. She said she got into the series when she and her husband bought the third book - "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" - for a niece for Christmas.

"Well, we ended up reading it before we gave it to her, and got her another copy," Green laughed. She has been hooked ever since. "My 75-year-old mother reads the books, too."

Earlier Thursday, the trio called up Jimmie John's for lunch, telling them that they were waiting in line for the new "Potter" movie. The sub shop delivered the sandwiches to them in line, and also drew a picture of Harry Potter on the wrapper.

Could Smash Records

"Deathly Hallows Part 2" is the eighth and final installment of the series, which has earned over $6 billion worldwide. It is opening in 4,575 theaters in the U.S. and Canada, and it's believed that the movie will earn $180 million this weekend, according to a Los Angeles Times report. And the single-day movie sales record could also fall (previously set at $72 million by "Twilight: New Moon" in 2009).

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